The more you role play these scenarios with your child, the more comfortable they'll become with these exchanges.
3. Engage in social observation
When you're out and about with your child, take the time to observe others from a distance. Talk about what they are doing or what you think they're feeling at this moment. Ask them to imagine what their hopes, dreams, or insecurities are. Talk about the different things people wear or the variety in their mannerisms. Engage in a little role play by asking them how they might introduce themselves or what they might say to this person. It's a rather basic exercise, but doing this provides opportunities for discussion and allows children to rehearse social scenarios in their mind.
4. Arrange playdates for your child
If your child is younger, facilitate playdates at your house. Even if you're not sure your child has any real friends, other parents are often glad to help out if you explain the situation. It often helps to ask your child's teacher if she knows of any other shy and reserved children in the class that you might try to arrange playdates with. This gives children a chance to develop a friendship with someone who is similar to them. These arrangements often work best when you can mask them under some other purpose between adults, so that children don't feel as though they are being pressured to perform. Encourage guests to talk about what they liked about playing with your child, so that kids get some self-confidence.
5. Talk things over and offer feedback regarding social situations
Psychologist Susan Spence points out that "practice of a skill is only of value if it results in some form of feedback as to whether the performance is satisfactory and what, if anything, needs to be done to further improve that performance." (Spence, 2003, p. 91) This means that talking things over after every social experience or exposure therapy session is a vital part of helping children overcome their condition.
Parents need to discuss their child's social experiences as if each one were the first day of school. Such conversation not only helps children better understand themselves and others, but it allows you the opportunity to disrupt the type of self-judgmental thought patterns that a child typically ruminates about.
6. Healthy attitudes
It's important for parents to dispel some of the flawed ideas a child may have formed about social interaction. So regularly remind them that...